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80s Toy Movie Treasure Hunt: Mac and Me

Many people (including Paul Rudd) remember the movie Mac and Me as a laughable rip-off of E.T., The Extraterrestrial (if they remember it at all). But this 1988 film has a special place in my heart, not only because I saw the impromptu fast food dance party years before seeing Elliott's bike fly across the moon, but because this movie encapsulates my recollection of the 1980's more than any other film. That's probably why I own 3 copies on VHS and the recent blu-ray release.

Mac and Me is infamous for its product placement (specifically McDonald's, Coke and Skittles), but most people forget the abundance of the toys found on the screen as well. There are classic 80's playthings hiding in frame after frame of this 30 year old cult classic, so join me as I point them out to you in a retro movie treasure hunt.

Bravestarr Fort Kerium Playset

The scenes featuring Eric in his new room are real treat, as vintage toys hide in every corner. First up are a few special items from the Bravestarr line of toys by Mattel. You may recall that this Filmation cartoon featured wild west style adventures in space starring a Native American hero with the "speed of the puma" or "strength of the bear", among other skills. We can clearly see a Fort Kerium Playset hiding behind a moving box and wrapped with a bungee cord to keep the box together. This leads me to believe that Eric had a lot of fun with this thing.

A bit later, we find that on his bedroom floor, Eric has set Marshall Bravestarr atop his trusty steed, Thirty/Thirty, a character who would actually transform into an anthropomorphic robot horse that stood on two legs. I loved watching Bravestarr as a kid and had all of the main figures in the first wave (I assume they were purchased on clearance). I also owned one of the infrared laser guns that interacted with the toys, so seeing this fun, but failed toy line in a cinematic space was a real treat. Thanks to Hollywood Heroes and Transformers-Universe for the pics.

G.I. Joe Cobra Night Raven S3P

Just below Bravestarr in that last shot was another epic piece of plastic, the Cobra Night Raven S3P from the G.I. Joe Real American Hero line by Hasbro. I only ever owned about three G.I. Joe figures personally, but my best friend had a whole closet full of them, including this intimidating aircraft. Hasbro produced almost as many vehicles as individual figures to put on toy shelves back in the day and I remember my favorite part of the Night Raven was the detachable Recon Jet that could fly off the main body to go on a solo mission of world domination. Thanks to for the photos.

Mad Scientist Monster Lab and Dissect An Alien

I love Eric's varied taste in toys, especially the fact that he indulged his disgusting side once and a while with the Mad Scientist Monster Lab. That being said, these kits were not carpet friendly and I'm sure his Mom would have freaked out if she had noticed the box sitting there on the floor. The gimmick of this set was that you could form a clay-like body over a monster skeleton, then drop it in a tank with a special solution that dissolved the flesh from the creature. So gross, so awesome! Thanks to for the picture.

Once Eric's room is done being unpacked, we see another Mad Scientist kit hiding on his bookshelf after waking up. Yes, it's my personal favorite in the world of ooey-gooey crafts, the Dissect-An-Alien kit! All you had to do was stuff this grimy guy with multi-colored internal organs and slimy glow-in-the-dark "Alien Blood", then use the plastic scalpel to rip his insides out in the goriest autopsy this side of a grainy FOX TV special. It's finds like this that make grateful for our age of blu-ray high definition and big screen TVs.

GUTS! Ground Troops

Also in plain sight amongst Eric's toys is a military series of figures by Mattel that I was not familiar with called GUTS! It's looks like the house that Barbie built wanted to give Hasbro's G.I. Joe a run for their money, but I'm not sure that painted rubber army men with no articulation was the way to go. In my research I found that there were Laser Fighters with a futuristic weapons and Aikido Force ninjas for martial arts fans, but these guys belonged in vending machines, not toy store shelves. The fact that Eric left them in the box speaks volumes.

TOMY Atomic Pinball and Bravestarr Skull Walker

Here's a few more random finds in Eric's room like a TOMY Atomic Pinball machine. I remember always being skeptical of toys that let you "bring the arcade experience home", so this looks like something I wouldn't have bothered putting on my childhood Christmas list. Also, you see what looks like an unproduced prototype for a Ghostbusters Devil Dog toy all by his lonesome? That's actually the Skull Walker from the Bravestarr line. I'm telling you, Eric was probably wearing Bravestarr themed Fruit of the Looms!

Garbage Pail Kids cards

Whenever someone enters or leaves Eric's room, we get a glimpse of his wall-mounted corkboard. On one side is a California vanity license plate that reads DREAMIN and on the other are 9 glorious Garbage Pail Kids cards. These painted images of pudgy faced madness fascinated almost every suburban elementary school kid back in the day and you would find them on school folders, lockers, bedroom or bathroom stall walls. I'm glad they got this part right in the movie and if you want to see me open a few vintage packs, check out this article.

After carefully dissecting this frame of film, I was able to identify the gross-out sticker/cards from Topps. They are (from L to R descending) John John, Catty Kathy, Newly-Dead Ed, Tom Thumb, Harry Canary, Chopped Susie, See More Seymour, Upliftin' Clifton and Many Lenny. Thanks to for gallery scans of every card that I spent way too much time searching through.

Masters of the Universe Spydor, Bashasuarus and Assorted Figures

After Eric has teamed up with the Mysterious Alien Creature aka MAC, the government finds out and leads the duo on a wheelchair chase that eventually ends up in a SEARS department store. The friends from different worlds hide right next to a display of stacked Spydor and Bashasaurus vehicles from Masters of the Universe. Isn't that wild?

You couldn't have a toy department without He-Man and friends on display and if you look carefully in the background later, you'll see a group of figures hanging on pegs. Those distinctive red card backs give them away. Unfortunately I don't have a computer that plays blu-ray discs for me to do a hi-def screen grab, so I had to take a picture of the TV screen. Which citizens of Eternia do you think we have hanging there?

Voltron Castle of Lions Playset

Just in case you thought I missed it, stacked underneath Spydor in the previous photo was the Voltron Castle of Lions playset. Voltron toys were all over the place in terms of scale back in the day. I remember the frustration as a child of realizing that my Princess Allura and Lance figures would not fit inside any of the full Voltron robots I had. They did release some Lions in scale with the figures, but I never had them. It was all very confusing to a young kid who just wanted to replicate what he saw on a cartoon.

She-Ra Crystal Falls Playset and Jem Rock Backstager Playset

Girl's toys may have been under-represented so far, but now we've got two major icons in one shot to make up for it. Most prominently displayed is the Princess of Power Crystal Falls playset, which was basically a health spa for She-Ra and her rebel friends to lounge in when Hordak wasn't causing trouble. I'm pretty sure Bow was demoted to towel boy in that scenario.

Next we see the Jem Rock Backstager playset surrounded by toy trucks for some reason. This was a fun set in that it acted as both a dressing room where Jerrica could transform into her superstar alter-ego, then convert to a working audio speaker that you could plug your tape player into and play your Jem and The Holograms cassettes that came packaged with the dolls. Truly outrageous!

Cabbage Patch Kids World Traveler Dolls

On the other side of the toy aisle is a display of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. But these aren't your standard dolls from the south with names like Dawson Glen or Talula Belle, this series was called World Traveler and featured an international group of toddlers from places like Russia, China or Scotland. A fun variation in the package design that helped me identify these little guys was that the box looked like an old trunk that would have traveled across the ocean on a steamer ship.

ALF 18" Plush Doll

As the chase through Sears ends we are treated to a furry and familiar face from the planet Melmac on an endcap display. I'd recognize that schnoz anywhere, it's ALF! This is the original doll by Coleco released in 1986. If you squint you can just make out the white cardboard spaceship he came packaged. I shared the original commercial for Gordon Shumway's plush debut in this article. Now I have to know if there was ever a Mac and Me joke on the ALF TV series.

Quite a journey, wouldn't you say? Honestly, if I could go back in time, it would probably be to the set of Mac and Me. I would have gladly played the annoying neighbor kid who was just following Eric around and asking if I could play with his toys. When he turned me down, I would call the authorities on him and his freaky puppet friend and finally end up at Sears with all of my birthday money to buy that ALF doll and show that stuck-up Eric that I could have adventures with aliens too.

Speaking of future tales of the Mac and Me universe, the film did promise a sequel at the end which never happened. So I came up with a movie poster to promote my idea for a 90s follow-up in theaters. Whaddya think?

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NLogan Posted on Dec 04, 2018 at 01:43 AM

I also had a friend that had the Night Raven when we combined Joes to play at his house. I had several GUTS.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 03, 2018 at 07:31 PM

Wow! Very nicely done on the eagle-eye spotting of super sweet '80s toy goodness. I would love to have pretty much anything you spotted here. I have to commend the kid on his fascination with Bravestarr and MOTU. A true Filmation fanatic he must be. All that was missing was some Ghostbusters stuff - the original ones that is.

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